What if a child becomes something other than what society intended?… What if a child is destined for something greater?
These questions come from a trailer of the new Superman film, ‘Man of Steel’, out in the cinemas in nine days. I could say that I’ve been hoodwinked into agreeing to go see this with my partner but as a matter of fact, since watching Finding Joe and getting a real appreciation of the Hero’s Journey, I’m really looking forward to it!
What is the ‘Hero’s Journey’?
The heros journey takes us through the twelve steps that are discussed in Finding Joe. Joseph Campbell noticed how these following steps occur in every great myth just as they can be seen in every superhero movie around today … and in our own lives if we choose to follow the calling.
Ordinary World – Our everyday life, before the adventure begins.
Call to adventure – Destiny summons the hero/heroin within. This could be a personal inclination that one is meant for something greater or it could be a difficulty or challenge that needs to be overcome.
Refusal of the Call – The fear response to the challenge and self sabotage.
Meeting with the Mentor – When the student is ready, the teacher appears bringing advice that helps the hero on his journey.
Crossing the First Threshold – Leaving the comfort zone for the journey of adventure.
Tests, Allies, Enemies – Encountering friends and foes, the hero or heroine learns valuable lessons that test his or her strength.
Approach – Obstacles prompt the hero to adapt, trying different methods and new ideas.
Ordeal – A great obstacle where the hero or heroine falls or maybe has to even overcome death itself.
Reward – The gift of achievement and growth having survived the crisis.
The Road Back – The hero doesn’t allow ego to take over and instead takes the journey back home.
Resurrection Hero – Facing the final, biggest battle. This is what it all comes down to – where everything is at stake and the hero or heroine must put into practice all that has been learned.
Return with Elixir – The hero returns home but is changed and has a new approach to life. The elixir is what the hero or heroine takes back to the ordinary world – something that can be used to help others.
Watching for something greater
Understanding the process of the Hero’s Journey deepens our appreciation of the great myths and enriches our movie watching experiences. We relate to and connect with the archetypes and pick up on every valuable lesson and every ounce of inspiration. If we’re getting so much more out of stories and movies … imagine how much more we get out of life. It helps us to answer the questions we started this email with.
Is it a bird, is a plane?
If you are going to go watch the Man of Steel in the cinema, from next Saturday 14th (watch the official trailer below), I wholeheartedly recommend that you add to the experience by watching Finding Joe first. And to mark the coming of the exciting new movie, Cygnus Books are running a special offer.
Chance of a free book
If we order the Finding Joe DVD before midnight next Wednesday 12th June, we get a special price of just £4 for the book about the spiritual messages behind the story of superman – ‘An Unlikely Prophet’, by Alvin Schwartz is supposed to be £13.99 so we’d be getting it for way better than half price! Better still … if we order two copies of Finding Joe, we get ‘An Unlikely Prophet’ free of charge (while stocks last)!
An Unlikely Prophet
As a bit of a closet geek, the idea of getting an Alvin Schwartz book for free is awesome. He is one of the greatest to work on the Superman and Batman comic strips and his stories were always steeped with spiritual messages and life lessons.
When Schwartz stopped writing comic books he continued his spiritual journey because he had discovered that ‘writing heroic characters – Superman, especially – was giving him issues of identity and a wide array of emotions over his own worth as a human being’. He went on to write ‘An Unlikely Prophet’ which has been held in high esteem by those of us seeking the greatness within ourselves. This autobiography is infused with Tibetan philosophies and practices and introduces us to a very literal concept of Superman as a tulpa (a sentient being created through the power of thought) which is essentially what he was to Alvin Schwartz – one through whom his true self was reflected and his inner greatness discovered. Telling the tale of his spiritual journey or, as he calls it, his ‘path without form’ he offers insight into multiple selves, thoughtforms, unity consciousness and positive self discovery. As enticingly fanciful as his play on reality is, the concepts of his teachings are down to earth and rooted firmly to everyday reality. ‘My ordinary, everyday self – now that I understood – was finally the key to everything. It was my entree to the powers of the universe. And it was also something else. It was the place where the infinite rested on the finite’.
If only Superman were real
Of course we’d like to believe that Superman could be real – someone to love us unconditionally and protect us from atrocities. Considering Joseph Campbell and Alvin Schwartz’ teachings, I’m inclined to agree with the surging number of people adapting a faith in the hero within. We were born of the very real superpower of the Universe. I’d like to see what happens the more we believe in ourselves as individuals and in humanity – maybe, the more we tap into that limitless, unconstrained energy, the more we can rise above the false superpowers of greedy dictators who are bleeding the earth dry and enslaving humanity. Baddies always want to break the heros will. World leaders can direct our thoughts and emotions and manipulate our reactions to the bad that happens in the world … if we let them. But rather than follow their direction, if we maintain self control, focusing our attention and intention, we can unite in truth and justice to rise together above it all. We can create our own world destiny. Ann pointed out that ‘when we see and appreciate the spiritual meaning behind movies that large numbers of people will be watching, it all goes into the collective unconscious and helps everyone’. I agree and will remember when I watch the Man of Steel that it’s not just what you watch – it’s how you watch it that counts.